The Strategist

What you need to know about new Google Pixel

10/09/2017 - 14:20

IDC reports that in the first quarter of 2017 the global smartphone market was led by 5 main players: Samsung (23.3% market share), Apple (14.7%), Huawei (10%), OPPO 7.5%) and vivo (5.5%).

However, this did not prevent Google from stubbornly forcing its way into the ranks of leading developers of smart phones. 

Google introduced the second generation of its smart phones - Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL – on October 4. The phones are identical, except for a few key things: the size and type of screen, battery capacity and price. As you can guess from the title, Pixel 2 XL is by inch bigger than Pixel 2, and is more expensive by $ 200.

Also, because of the larger screen, the Pixel 2 XL has a battery capacity of up to 3,500 mAh, whereas it is 2,700 mAh in Pixel 2. Another interesting detail: Pixel 2 is produced in factories of the Taiwanese company HTC, and Pixel 2 XL - at the plants of South Korean LG. Yet, Google insists that the new smart phones are considered a product of Google, and not co-authorship with other manufacturers, as it was in the old Nexus line.

The 5-inch Pixel 2 has a screen resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, and the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL has a resolution of 3200 × 1800 pixels. Both smart phones have an OLED display. This is a new type of display with greater contrast and a range of colors.

For comparison, iPhone 8 has a contrast ratio of 1400: 1. That is, there are 1400 intermediate links between the darkest and the brightest point of the color gamut. This affects clarity of the image. For example, if you watch a dark video on your phone and do not see the details, it means that the phone has low contrast. Google claims that Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a contrast ratio of 100,000: 1! By the way, one of the smart phones’ features is that the screen is always on and shows the notification icons or time.

iPhone and Samsung focus on their design: swan-neck bends, accurate settings under the camera lens, chrome and gloss. On the other hand, design of the Google smart phone cannot be called garish or refined. It seems that Google has developed the simplest yet most practical design.
Even the names of colors – Black, White and Kind Blue - underscore supposedly calm attitude of developers to design solutions. 

Many modern smart phones come with a dual main camera – just look at iPhone X, Xiaomi Redmi Pro and LG G5 SE. At that, Google offers only one camera, but with its own software development.

The American company is known for its research in the field of neural networks and artificial intelligence. This means that, with the example of several million photographs, the program is "taught" to distinguish objects from images. And the more images the program sees, the more accurate it becomes. This is the principle of the Google Lens program built into the new smart phone. The program is able to recognize an object on an image, name it, and in some cases even figure a brand or a kind. You also need to point the camera at the Internet router, on which the Wi-Fi password is written, so that the program connects to network on its own. Point the camera at a café, and Google Lens will tell everything about it: reviews, menus, prices (if such data is available on the Internet).

Also, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL support AR (augmented reality) mode. The smart phones are able to identify objects, human beings, animals as independent objects and complement their image with animation or inscription. So far, this technology has been used as entertainment - if you've ever seen a photo with animated canine ears, nose and tongue, then this is exactly the innovative technology of augmented reality. However, AR are going to be used in education systems in the future.

The camera has 12.2 megapixels and a lens with f/1.8 aperture. According to DxOMark’s tests, cameras of Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL scored the highest score among other smart phones - 98 points.
Google owns Android operating system, so it’s not a surprise that its latest version - Android 8.0 Oreo - is installed in Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The name of the operating system’s new version is not accidental. Every new versions of the program is called in honor of popular desserts, in alphabetical order. Android 1.5 version is dubbed Cupcake. It is followed by Donut, Eclair and up to the previous series 7.0 Nougat. 

The smart phone’s biggest trick is that when you press Pixel 2 from both sides, Google Assistant is launched. For example, you came to Hamburg and want to find an outdoor restaurant nearby, so just to activate the assistant by pressing the phone and ask your question out loud. Assistant will find a suitable place for you, help translate your request to the waiter in German (voice translator) and entertain you with an anecdote during dinner.

Another important feature of Google Assistant is machine learning. The program remembers your preferences, analyzes queries (your favorite links and places) and understands the context. 

Pixel 2 is also able to recognize music. Since the smartphone's microphone always stands by in anticipation of the user saying "OK Google", now it is still listening to music. The screen in "always on" mode displays the name of the song I heard nearby.

The phones have a "quick charge" function, but there is no possibility of wireless charging due to the aluminum coating. There is still no headphone port, but you can use wireless Bluetooth or USB-C headphones. 

The announced cost of Pixel 2 in America is $ 649, and Pixel 2 XL is $ 849. The start of sales is scheduled for October 19, pre-order is already possible.